Even though it was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, the city of Chiang Mai still has a lot to offer in terms of culture and food.
The Lanna have close relations with the Lao, as well as cultural ties with the Chinese near its borders.
The flavor profiles of their food may have some similarities with their neighbors, but the Lanna have mastered the use of local ingredients to create something completely their own and is tied to the tourist experience today.
If you want to get the full Lanna food experience, go to the markets and restaurants of Chiang Mai and try a lot of the dishes on this list.
1- Khao Soi
The yellow curry noodle soup is a classic in the city of Chiang Mai.
It’s a signature Lanna meal of flat egg noodles with meat, onions, cabbage, and chilies in a coconut-based curry.
The dish’s roots are different in many ways. It shares a heritage with many other countries, including Lao khao soi, Burmese ohn nokhao see, and even Malaysian laksa.
Egg noodles and coconut curry were first introduced to Southeast Asia by the Chinese Muslims from the Yunnan Province of China, food historians say.
2- Sai Oua
People of northern Thailand love sausages.
Sai oua is the most popular sausage because of its use of local spices.
The pork sausage is mixed with spices such as kaffir lime leaves, galangal, red curry paste, and Northern Thai oomph.
Sai oua is eaten with sticky rice by locals.
Each sai out-based meal is an experience of its own because each one safeguards a secret recipe.
3- Lanna-style Larb
The Lanna take on the salad has a very spicy kick.
The Northern Thai take their preferred meat (pork, beef, duck, or even fish will do), then quickly stir-fry the chopped meat, with pork blood cubes, offal, and a mix of herbs and spices.
Some versions of larb leave out pork blood cubes and others leave the meat raw.
4- Gai Yang
A grilled chicken dish made with indigenous ingredients is called gai yang.
It’s possible to have a butterflied whole chicken or half chicken; each one is grilled to perfection and served with dipping sauces on the side, along with some tam.
It is worth trying different stalls to find the one that suits you the best.
5- Gaeng Hung Lay
Tourists can enjoy gaeng hung in markets and restaurants all year round, even though it is a traditional holiday dish.
Gaeng hung is more similar to Indian and Burmese food than it is to Thai, with good reason: the people of the Lanna kingdom may have brought gaeng hung with them when they came to the area.
The most popular version of gaeng hung uses a pork belly or shoulder, cooked in a curry redolent of galangal, garlic, and tamarind.
The sticky rice preferred by Northern Thais is what the melted pork fat is meant to be used for.
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